The first step was research. We watched a lot of charity videos to figure out approaches we liked and didn’t like. Save a Child’s Heart provided me with TONS of info, and I interviewed team members for their personal stories about how they became involved.
I also executed research on charity marketing in general — which helped me realize that the narrative should be focused on value proposition. The message of the story is not trying to scare or guilt people into donating, it’s about presenting a positive working solution that people will want to become a part of.
Through all of this I was constantly doodling images and making notes. I didn’t want to focus on a concept for video until I felt comfortable with the material and understood the brand. I wanted to leave my mind open for ideas and I didn’t want to make any assumptions.
Explaining Save a Child’s Heart requires a lot of info, but to engage an audience we needed to tell a story, so I made sure to incorporate qualities in the visual design and narration to evoke a strong story-sense.
The children’s storybook style helped with that, and also made sense for the subject and tone. (The cutout style was also a time/cost-effective solution for the animation.) Designing the video to be all in one shot — moving left to right — was another strategy to add story structure by giving the viewer a visual direction.
To organize the info into a script I started with the most reductive 3 act story structure: 1) problem, 2) conflicts, 3) resolution. The tone needed a touch of humour to make it approachable. It had to be personal and sincere, but without losing a sense of authority. Podcasts like “This American Life” fit a lot of that criteria, and thinking about their tone and use of language helped me write the monolog.
I believe the preparation time was well worth it, because when I presented the script and concept it was unanimously approved and supported by the team. The script and storyboard circulated through the organization and we went back and forth with minor additions and details, mostly regarding the statistics and details about the language with their marketing team.